- My very newest poems from 2014: I hate bad poetry. That's why I'm happy not to be making it! I think Mary Oliver has finally sunken in. I think the words are finally flowing once again
- My poems from early 2014: I seem to be starting this new year with a muffled, distant boom rather than a boisterous bang
- My poems from 2013: I so hope you enjoy a few of them . . . they're the best so far, I believe. I certainly could be wrong. I read Mary Oliver and humbly seek to learn how
- My Poems in 2012: and who's Rita Dove?
- More poems, 2001-02: more recent poems, including one for Elvin Jones
- My early poetry, 1976-77: the creation of a poem can still be an act of defiance, of irreverence, of hope, of love, of protest: it can also be an act of pure incompetence . . . it is a precarious art form
Poetry by Jessica Williams—2001-02
When the music in my head is louder than the music in my body, I put on Elvin.
You know how the water feels when you throw your head back in the shower and you feel your hair down your back, heavy with the running water, you feel the silver tingling and then the wild rush of that energy -
(that energy that has caused so many wars and so much death because it has been given so many names, all of the nine billion names of God; that same energy that has created so much life, because it is the river of love and birth and renewal and healing, and it created these words and all the galaxies like grains of sand)
- falling through you like the dust of angel's wings!
You feel your body, and you feel your life-force from your crown to your pelvic floor,
and you feel your feet planted on the spinning, shining, singing orb that is your warm and welcoming mother in this vast, cold, lonely, dangerous darkness,
and you shout your animal shout and you smile at the smell of your sweet animal skin and you shake and purr at the sound of the drum -
(primal as the big bang! deep as thunder on the plain! familiar as a child's laughter!)
- Elvin's drum!
One more poem for Mr Jones.
These notes are our diamonds-
These notes are our diamonds-
They're carboniferous fire,
consuming the pages of your complacency,
curling the edges of your diplomacy,
vivisecting the carcass of your supremacy.
You are dying, and we are being born,
torn from the pages of your most esteemed screeds,
your most revered pamphlets and training manuals,
but artfully rearranged into the single word
of living, breathing,
finally and fully
Is there a place
Is there a place that I really belong, a 'home place' that is really my home, a place that I should go to be whole and finished?
Isn't there something called astro-cartography, and you just go to an astrologer who specializes in it and they'll tell you where your lines of force converge, where you really belong?
If I pay enough, could someone really good at this narrow it down to a zip code, a street, a house number?
Once I'm there, which room do I sleep in? Should I put the piano against the east wall or the west wall?
When I get a new phone, should it have 5's in it, and, if so, how many?
I'm starting to think that maybe I'm home. Right here.
Right now, with you.
don't think i don't do it too
'i was gonna, and then so-and-so did such-and-such, and i couldn't do what i was gonna do' or 'this woulda worked out fine but then you went and did this-and-that' or 'i was doing so well and then what's-his-face went and blew the whole thing for me' and i 'coulda-shoulda-woulda' but i have an 'excuse' and just listen to me while i explain it to myself again
The damned project
We wondered what a small person like yourself would do if confronted with the enormity of your crimes against humanity (if it were possible to lay them out on a single, large document or 'spread-sheet') so that you could examine and ponder them at your leisure. Like unfolding a detailed road-map of Anaheim, you'd be able to see exactly where this wayward street led and unto which broad thoroughfare it emptied or into which blind alley or dead end it brought your young, guilless victims up against. As I said, we wondered what a small person like yourself would do if this were possible, but when we realized, quite abrubtly, that it would improperly fill you up with pride and glee to see such effort spent in the execution of such a project (not to mention the joy it would bring you to re-live your despicable acts via our accounting of them), we decided against the whole damned project (as it would invert itself into a sinister enjoyment for you, something we find hideous in the extreme.)
We have lately gone whole days without thinking once of you. Unfortunately, we still have an occasional nightmare starring you. Your appearances are less frequent. Like Newman in Seinfeld, you have only a bit-part.
You are never the hero.
You were a Trappist Monk
You were a Trappist Monk and you looked like Donald Pleasance.
I think it was you; they say in dreams who you think is someone else could easily be you, and they also say that everybody in your dream is you. Or Donald Pleasance.
There were these guys with guns (aren't there ALWAYS guys with guns) and they wanted to kill you, and I was flying above you without a plane (was I an angel? or was I dead like you would be soon?) and I wanted to save you but
the guys with guns were on you and (you can see it can't you Donald Pleasance in a shapeless brown burlap you know the rope around the bloated waist him with his wire-rim glasses shaved head all flustered glasses slipping sandals tripping as he ran falling down getting up falling down like an HBO made-for-TV special and seeing it from above like from a helicopter or through the eyes of god or from a Harrier Jet) there was no where to go but down down you went down and
you were dead.
I made it to the ground too late, and, as you died, I noticed a bird fall from the sky, dead too. Birds mean freedom in a dream, they say (the they that say stuff like that say so, at least) so freedom died too, and then a sweet little black dog who'd been hit by the flying bullets friendly fire the military would say I guess because they weren't after the dog but the dog didn't seem to consider it too friendly, this little dog comes crawling, bleeding and yelping with pain to your already dead-out-of-this-world body and licks your face and I find I have a gun too (we all have guns now, it's that kind of world now)
and I shoot the dog to end its suffering
and I wake up whimpering.
I get most of it.
Except, why Donald Pleasance?
I bet on a good day you're OK
I bet on a good day you're OK.
Even with the tick and the limp, you don't attract a lot of attention, I'll bet.
Maybe people just want to GET HOME.
They could care less if you drool just not on them.
So don't expect sympathy from me.
I'm working on my accent.
Trying to forget watching the dwarves out to gut each other with machetes.
Why were they doing that? Are they still? I'll bet they are.
It's only after it's all over
It's only after it's all over
you really get it
how you almost were killed by it all
why you felt so tired and dead
when you were really close to death
you just wouldn't have believed it if
someone had said
it's killing you
now you look back and
see it like you see the ceiling
if you look up
and then they wonder why
you didn't even call to say
All poetry Jessica Williams, JJW Publishing ©1975-2014
Poetry . . .